Facedbook says it removed significantly more fake accounts in Q1 2019 and Q4 2018 than in previous quarters, due to an increase in automated, scripted attacks.
In the final quarter of 2018, Facebook disabled just over 1 billion fake accounts and 583 million in the first quarter of last year.
According to the company, the majority of these accounts were caught within minutes of registration, before they became a part of Faecbook's monthly active user (MAU) population.
Facebook estimates that fake accounts represented approximately 5% of its worldwide monthly active users (MAU) on Facebook during Q1 2019 and Q4 2018.
These figures are part of Facebook's latest Transparency Report, which covers the second half of 2018.
Also included in this release is Facebook's third Community Standards Enforcement Report, which shows how much violating content the company has detected on its service.
Some picks from Facebook's report:
- In the second half of 2018, government requests for user data increased globally by 7% from 103,815 to 110,634. This increase reflects normal growth for the second half as compared to previous reporting periods. Of the total volume, the United States continues to submit the highest number of requests, followed by India, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.
- In the United States, Facebook received 3% fewer requests than last reporting period, of which 58% included a non-disclosure order prohibiting Facebook from notifying the user.
- During the second half of 2018, the volume of content restrictions based on local law increased globally by 135% from 15,337 to 35,972. This increase was primarily driven by 16,600 items Facebook restricted in India based on a Delhi High Court order regarding claims made about PepsiCo products. For this release, Facebook has added a new breakout of content restrictions by product — Facebook and Instagram — and their content types — like Pages, profiles and comments — for each platform.
- In the second half of 2018, Facebook identified 53 disruptions of Facebook services in nine countries, compared to 48 disruptions in eight countries in the first half of 2018. This half, India accounted for 85% of total new global disruptions.
- During this period, on Facebook and Instagram, Facebook took down 2,595,410 pieces of content based on 511,706 copyright reports; 215,877 pieces of content based on 81,243 trademark reports; and 781,875 pieces of content based on 62,829 counterfeit reports.
- Facebook also says it discovered an error in its accounting methods for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) content requests. This error resulted in a significant undercounting of the number of accounts specified in those requests, as well as overcounting of the number of requests in one half, dating back to 2015. In this report, Facebook is updating the numbers to reflect these corrections.
Facebook has been under constant criticism about its content policies and efforts to detect fake accounts since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, when Russia used the social network to try to sway voters.
Facebook has promised repeatedly to be better at detecting and removing posts that violate its policies, and has pledged that artificial intelligence programs would be at the center of those efforts.
Facebook detects almost 99% of all graphic and violent posts it removes before a user reports them to the company. However, the company still can’t consistently detect graphic or violent content in live videos.